Thursday, May 30, 2013

Edward "Ned" Tilley: Locked Up....But Why?

So, after finding my 3rd Gr. Grand Uncle, Ned Tilley, in the 1870 U.S. Census in the State Penitentiary, I knew I had to find out what he did to land himself in prison of all places! I wasn't sure where to go, and google took me to the state archives site that mentioned a Penitentiary inmate register book. I then turned to one of the Missouri Genealogy Facebook groups hoping someone had access to this book, and someone gave me the email on how to request a look - up from the archives.  Someone else gave me a link to the newspaper database on the Missouri Digital Archives website where I found this:

Apparently, this was a clipping from a scrapbook full of clippings about the History of Springfield. No date was listed. I thought I solved part of the mystery. I now knew what he went to jail for, yet many questions remained...Was it self defense? An Accident? Did he really do it? Why I wanted him to be innocent, I do not know... That thinking went out the window when I got an email response from the archives telling me they found him in the register, not once but twice! I requested copies of the records, and here's what I found out:

First Offense:
Edward "Ned" Tilley, just 16 yr old- was sentenced to 5 years in prison on December 25, 1869, for felonious assault. He is described as: Height: 5ft 5/2 in,
                                                        Length of foot: 9 inches ( Strange they noted it?)
                                                        Complexion : Dark Copper (Never seen this before!LOL!)
                                                        Trade: Laborer

Marks and Scars: Two small scars on left side of forehead, scar on forehead, small scar on right arm, scar on right knee, scar over left (?), scar on front of left thigh.

He was pardoned by Gov. Brown on September 25, 1871 and released December 25, 1871 after serving 2yrs of the 5yr sentence.

I'm thinking perhaps he wasn't so bad after all if they let him out early...

2nd Offense:
 Here Ned and Ed (HA!) were both charged with 2nd Degree Murder June 10,1873. Ed Bryant was sentenced to 15 yrs, and Edward "Ned" Tilley was sentenced to Life. This was for the murder mentioned in the previous clipping, but notice Ed Bryant was "Out on Writ of Habeas Corpus-( by) Feb. 20, 1874"

 Ned Tilley was not so lucky... It says he " Died in Hospital April 15, 1881" at only about 27 years of age...

This seems like it should have been enough. I found out what he went to jail for, when and where he died. What he may have looked like...but I still didn't feel like I knew enough about the case. Perhaps because the last name of the victim - Mcgee- may have been related to me on the same line, perhaps even an  in-law of Ned Tilley as in the 1876 Census, a Peter Mcgee is living with Ned's niece's future husband's Family, and Bryants are always listed close by.

That deep curiosity that a new genealogical find causes wouldn't leave me alone!! So I followed it...

To be Continued......:)


  1. Oooh you got me. I am hooked. Can't wait to see what you found out.

  2. okay now Rachel, keep me coming back will ya (smile)

  3. Wow!!! Thanks for sharing this. Keep digging up till you will find out. I will definitely come back to read your blog again. :)